Respite and much more: the Centre Philou now welcomes 6-12 year-old disabled
children and offers sensory stimulation rooms

MONTREAL, March 29 /CNW Telbec/ - The Centre Philou is inaugurating its new facilities to welcome new clients: 6-12 year-old severely physically disabled children for stays of two days to three weeks at a time. The Centre has already been welcoming 0-5 year-olds for almost five years.

"This project started almost eighteen months ago, when parents of severely physically handicapped children who regularly visit the Centre asked us what would happen to their only moments of respite when their children turned 6," explained Diane Chênevert, Founder and General Manager of the Centre de répit Philou.

The question prompted her to present the Centre's Board of Directors with a project to expand the facilities, create new sensory stimulation rooms on the second floor of the small building that the Centre Philou had just acquired, and install an elevator to facilitate access. The goal was to be able to safely welcome older children and provide them with activities that were appropriate to their level of development. The total investment represented close to $200,000 over two years.

In an outpouring of generosity, several of the Centre's partners decided to offer their support to the project. Clarins Canada donated $100,000 over five years to initiate and maintain the idea of a special floor for the 6-12 year olds. "It was not only the children who convinced us, but also the twenty-six women who pour their hearts and souls into their work at the Centre Philou, as well as Diane, Philou's mother, who is totally dedicated to the cause," said Danielle LaRoche, Director, Clarins Canada.

As well, in the wake of visibility created by the release of the album Berceuses pour Philou, accessibility to the second-floor became an issue adopted by Scotia McLeod which undertook to finance the purchase of an elevator. "We organized several events with our employees and called upon our partners and clients. In less than three months, we reached our goal and presented $30,000 to the Centre Philou," said André Bourret Directeur of Scotia McLeod while cutting the ribbon to inaugurate the elevator, along with Alain Labonté, the man behind Berceuses pour Philou. The album's sales paid for the work necessary to install the elevator. "As a bonus," said Alain Labonté accompanied by some of the album's artists, "the record won the Félix for Best Instrumental Album of the year at the ADISQ."

In line with its mission of investment in the community, Telus-Québec took part in the creation of a Communication Laboratory and in the Sensorial Stimulation Room where new technologies are used to encourage the children's sensory and cognitive development. François Côté, President of Telus-Québec, stressed "the importance to support local organisations, who work closely with people who are sometimes the most forgotten and whom we hear very little about. The children Centre Philou will benefit directly from what is offered."

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Canada decided to focus on the motor development and physical well-being of the children by helping the Centre Philou purchase high quality, durable equipment to enable the educators to do a wide variety of exercises and games with the children, whether they be small or not so small. "We like when the children are active. It is definitely good for their bodies, but equally so for their social development," added Pierre Brunet, Franchisee of McDonald Canada.

Madame Lise Thériault, Ministre déléguée aux Services sociaux emphasized that in June, the Centre Philou will celebrate its fifth birthday, "Five years of helping families with disabled children. With their devotion, their love of live, and their understanding of what the families experience, the educators at Centre Philou, all students in health-related fields, are examples of the future generation, more accepting of differences. My ministry granted $25,000 to the Centre Philou so that these young women can continue their work. The building, the new rooms, the elevator are necessary for the children who come to the Centre Philou, but the devoted personnel are essential."

/NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available at http://photos.newswire.ca. Images are free to accredited members of the media/

SOURCE CENTRE DE REPIT PHILOU

For further information: For further information: Media Relations: Alain Labonté Communications, (514) 523-9922; Source: Centre Philou, (514) 738-4861, info@centrephilou.org

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CENTRE DE REPIT PHILOU

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